Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-04-04 19:17:00

In Developing a Definition of Teacher Research, I liked the quote used in the beginning by Marion MacLean. MacLean says, “Teacher researchers have faith in their students; they know too much to give up on them” (23). This statement automatically made me think of all the wonderful teachers that saw potential within me, and did not “give up” on me even when I sometimes wanted to “give up” on myself (23). Those are the teachers that make a difference and leave an impact.
In addition, I liked how The Teacher as Researcher by Marian M. Mohr started off as well. Right from the jump, it brought me back to a classroom discussion and it showed the benefits of keeping a journal. I liked the idea of a journal possibly being used as a tool for yourself and strangers if the author considers it to be research and publishes it.
Continuing, the article actually relieved some of my fears about becoming a teacher. Mohr says, “The humiliation of not knowing everything catches up with every teacher” (5). This further highlights the saying “we all make mistakes,” and the fact we can never know everything. In Mohr case, the mistake actually did more good than harm. Mohr found a way to make the students recall a word and taught through the mistake. As teachers, you have to sometimes teach creatively to help your students learn and be engaged. Although I am not a teacher, I am sure there are days when nothing goes as planned, and you engage in something out of the usual.

In conclusion, Developing a Definition of Teacher Research and The Teacher as Researcher were more interesting to me than A Teacher-Research Group in Action although I do like the idea of trying to demonstrate a “group in action” (2). I also like the fact the article incorporated different people’s perspectives of the experience and it incorporated techniques that I personally enjoy. The reading also made me think of The Future of Composition Research because it mentioned “the process [being] more important than the product” (5).Although I still focus on the product, what you learn and who you become are important. 

Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-04-04 19:17:00

In Developing a Definition of Teacher Research, I liked the quote used in the beginning by Marion MacLean. MacLean says, “Teacher researchers have faith in their students; they know too much to give up on them” (23). This statement automatically made me think of all the wonderful teachers that saw potential within me, and did not “give up” on me even when I sometimes wanted to “give up” on myself (23). Those are the teachers that make a difference and leave an impact.
In addition, I liked how The Teacher as Researcher by Marian M. Mohr started off as well. Right from the jump, it brought me back to a classroom discussion and it showed the benefits of keeping a journal. I liked the idea of a journal possibly being used as a tool for yourself and strangers if the author considers it to be research and publishes it.
Continuing, the article actually relieved some of my fears about becoming a teacher. Mohr says, “The humiliation of not knowing everything catches up with every teacher” (5). This further highlights the saying “we all make mistakes,” and the fact we can never know everything. In Mohr case, the mistake actually did more good than harm. Mohr found a way to make the students recall a word and taught through the mistake. As teachers, you have to sometimes teach creatively to help your students learn and be engaged. Although I am not a teacher, I am sure there are days when nothing goes as planned, and you engage in something out of the usual.

In conclusion, Developing a Definition of Teacher Research and The Teacher as Researcher were more interesting to me than A Teacher-Research Group in Action although I do like the idea of trying to demonstrate a “group in action” (2). I also like the fact the article incorporated different people’s perspectives of the experience and it incorporated techniques that I personally enjoy. The reading also made me think of The Future of Composition Research because it mentioned “the process [being] more important than the product” (5).Although I still focus on the product, what you learn and who you become are important. 

blog 6

“A Teacher-Research Group in Action”

The idea that a teacher needs “structure” seems kind of silly to me, since there really isn’t anything orderly about teaching. From what I understand, it’s really a very hectic profession. But maybe that’s why these teachers craved structure within the seminar?

“debates they seemed to be carrying on internally” very relatable

I was kind of surprised that the “findings” section spent as much time discussing structure and deadlines as it did. I’m also surprised that the experimenters were surprised. The findings, I thought, were fairly obvious.

 “Until teachers start reading research, doing research, they won’t be a profession. If they’re grounded on lesson plans, that’s where they’re going to stay.” The idea that research enhances the ability to teach makes sense; research (as displayed in this experiment) helps us not only improve our knowledge through the ideas of others, but also helps us learn to think independently about something. Self-reflection, source analysis, critical thinking skills, idea generation—all benefits of research that can (and have been) applied to the classroom, like a guide book.  Meanwhile, non-researchers seem to simply be following a step-by-step instruction manual.

It makes me kind of sad to think these teachers did not feel very confident about the significance of their work, and that it did not count as research. This, I think, says a lot about how we view and value research. That research has a very “prestigious” and “elite” reputation in academia.

“The Teacher as Researcher”

“too tired to plow through jargon, charts and statistics…” It’s nice to know that teachers too often find scholarly/ research works hard (and boring) to navigate. But really, I think the best way to research (and learn in general) is by practicing, by doing. Hands-on experience is always better.

“teachers do not stand back and look…without also suggesting solutions…”

On the section describing the misspelling of “aggressive,” I can’t believe a child would be so trusting of their teacher that they would assume the dictionary was wrong and the teacher was correct. Can you imagine someone believing you to be that all-knowing? I can’t even get my co-workers to believe me when I tell them we’ve run out of something. And then the students tease her about it! I personally think this is hysterical, and it kind of makes me regret not getting my k – 8 teaching cert. But ultimately, I like that her mistake resulted in her letting the students take control and “teach” her some things. This is a really great approach to (1) making/ correcting a mistake, (2) teaching/ encouraging self-reflection within your students and (3) challenging the traditional “student/teacher” roles. I think letting your students take the wheel once in a while is really enlightening for everyone involved—especially when they are younger. It is so important that children retain their autonomy and creativity in classroom settings, lest they lose those qualities in lieu for blind obedience of the instructor (which is honestly my biggest fear for younger generations).

And supporting each other’s annoying habits for the sake of writing? Precious.

I thought this article was super cute and seemed a bit more though provoking than the previous one I read. I also liked how the students were taken into consideration here, although the focus is supposed to be the teacher. I liked that the “research method” was the same between the two.

“Developing a Definition of Teacher Research”

“teacher research is a public endeavor” in that their products benefit the greater good?

I like the idea that teacher researchers bounce ideas off of students as well as co-workers; the idea that we’re all learning from each other seems like what academia was supposedto be.

The versatility of a teacher’s “research context” is so interesting to me, as every student is unique, and every class will be unique because of that and because of thatthe work produced will always be original and cannot ever be replicated. 

blog 6

“A Teacher-Research Group in Action”

The idea that a teacher needs “structure” seems kind of silly to me, since there really isn’t anything orderly about teaching. From what I understand, it’s really a very hectic profession. But maybe that’s why these teachers craved structure within the seminar?

“debates they seemed to be carrying on internally” very relatable

I was kind of surprised that the “findings” section spent as much time discussing structure and deadlines as it did. I’m also surprised that the experimenters were surprised. The findings, I thought, were fairly obvious.

 “Until teachers start reading research, doing research, they won’t be a profession. If they’re grounded on lesson plans, that’s where they’re going to stay.” The idea that research enhances the ability to teach makes sense; research (as displayed in this experiment) helps us not only improve our knowledge through the ideas of others, but also helps us learn to think independently about something. Self-reflection, source analysis, critical thinking skills, idea generation—all benefits of research that can (and have been) applied to the classroom, like a guide book.  Meanwhile, non-researchers seem to simply be following a step-by-step instruction manual.

It makes me kind of sad to think these teachers did not feel very confident about the significance of their work, and that it did not count as research. This, I think, says a lot about how we view and value research. That research has a very “prestigious” and “elite” reputation in academia.

“The Teacher as Researcher”

“too tired to plow through jargon, charts and statistics…” It’s nice to know that teachers too often find scholarly/ research works hard (and boring) to navigate. But really, I think the best way to research (and learn in general) is by practicing, by doing. Hands-on experience is always better.

“teachers do not stand back and look…without also suggesting solutions…”

On the section describing the misspelling of “aggressive,” I can’t believe a child would be so trusting of their teacher that they would assume the dictionary was wrong and the teacher was correct. Can you imagine someone believing you to be that all-knowing? I can’t even get my co-workers to believe me when I tell them we’ve run out of something. And then the students tease her about it! I personally think this is hysterical, and it kind of makes me regret not getting my k – 8 teaching cert. But ultimately, I like that her mistake resulted in her letting the students take control and “teach” her some things. This is a really great approach to (1) making/ correcting a mistake, (2) teaching/ encouraging self-reflection within your students and (3) challenging the traditional “student/teacher” roles. I think letting your students take the wheel once in a while is really enlightening for everyone involved—especially when they are younger. It is so important that children retain their autonomy and creativity in classroom settings, lest they lose those qualities in lieu for blind obedience of the instructor (which is honestly my biggest fear for younger generations).

And supporting each other’s annoying habits for the sake of writing? Precious.

I thought this article was super cute and seemed a bit more though provoking than the previous one I read. I also liked how the students were taken into consideration here, although the focus is supposed to be the teacher. I liked that the “research method” was the same between the two.

“Developing a Definition of Teacher Research”

“teacher research is a public endeavor” in that their products benefit the greater good?

I like the idea that teacher researchers bounce ideas off of students as well as co-workers; the idea that we’re all learning from each other seems like what academia was supposedto be.

The versatility of a teacher’s “research context” is so interesting to me, as every student is unique, and every class will be unique because of that and because of thatthe work produced will always be original and cannot ever be replicated. 

The Role of Teacher as Researcher

The idea of the teacher acting as a researcher strikes me in an "of course!" sort of way. Of course the teacher should be a researcher! Who else knows the classroom better? Unfortunately, this is not necessarily an "of course!" kind of thing. In class we have discussed that, often, the people in charge don't know what they're in charge of, and the people doing the research are not the people in the classrooms. That being said, I think of teachers as being somewhat like scientists in their respective fields. Scientists do research and publish their findings for the betterment of their community, and I don't think teachers should be seen differently. After all, their "field of study" is the developing human mind. Is there anything more important?

The first article I will be exploring, regarding the role of teacher as researcher, is "Developing a Definition of Teacher Research." This article begins with a beautiful quote from Marion MacLean, "Teacher researchers have faith in their students; they know too much to give up on them." This is so important, and students know the difference when a teacher is caring and engaged, vs. when they are doing the job for a paycheck. I can attest to this from the perspective of a student-- the best teachers I have ever had are the ones who are willing to be open, vulnerable, and walk alongside me.

This article defines teacher research as "inquiry that is intentional, systematic, public, voluntary, ethical, and contextual" (1). This is a bit of a wordy definition and, as Martha and Debra also noted via Hypothesis, doesn't seem to differentiate "teacher research" from any other kind of research. However, further into the article, the author (forgive my lack of noting a name, I will come back to this later, but I'm not sure who wrote this??) further unpacks this definition, as beginning with a commitment to the examination of teaching and learning, followed up with enacting change in the classroom, based on the findings. The teacher researcher studies what is important to them because, likely, it's an issue that they've noticed in their own classrooms. Further, it is, as noted in this article, "a public endeavor" (2). When teachers work together. they "intentionally shift from a private perspective to a more open, public perspective in order to encourage challenges to their understanding" (2). This is always an intelligent way to conduct research, especially in a field in which collaboration can be so helpful to so many.

Next, I looked to "The Teacher as Researcher," by Marian M. Mohr. Mohr makes a strong case against the traditional researcher as someone who isn't generally involved in the classroom for the long term, and I thought it was funny when she spoke, rather wryly, of her own ventures into her role as researcher.  Mohr's article made me consider the idea of thoughtful and intentional teaching, going into the classroom with the goal of learning alongside the students. I thought the example of the misspelling of "aggressive" was an interesting case study, and effective, considering that all of the students got that word right when tested. When students realize a teacher doesn't know everything, I think it may make the teacher more relatable. The last line summed it up well, "I am convinced that the model of a student that I provide for my students to observe will help them to become better students themselves." This is something I think that all teachers should keep in mind, and I certainly shall when my time comes.

Finally, I looked at "A Teacher-Research Group in Action," by Sandra R. Schecter and Rafael Ramirez. Off the bat, I saw that this article was published in June of 1991. so going in I know that the statistics are going to be over two decades old. This may prove to have nothing to do with the research, but it's something I like to take note of.

From the introduction, I am inclined to feel that this study went the distance to include a wide age range, which certainly works in it's advantage. Additionally, it appears to be highly comprehensive-- the participants in this study needed to passionate about being involved:


This is quite a bit of work! Continuing through the paper, I liked the description of the five segment seminar, it seemed engaging and purposeful. The only thing I wasn't completely on-board with was the concept of no syllabus whatsoever. I think that too much structure can be detrimental especially when it's used to the point of superfluity, however I think some structure is necessary and helpful.

Having read Marian Mohr's approach, I understand what the group facilitator meant by using her approach as the format for the seminar that he led. Schector and Ramirez cite the facilitator, Mike, as saying that he wanted to "experiment...to see what works and what doesn't" (4). This certainly does seem to be done in the spirit of Marian Mohr's approach, in terms of experimenting to see how the participants were to respond to a more down to earth model (i.e., Mohr broke the traditional "all-knowing teacher" model to come before her students as a student, in a comparable way this seminar broke the traditional structured model in order to try something new), but I do also think that this comparison is a bit of a stretch.

 The overall vibe that I gathered from the findings of this article was that "process is more important than the product" (5) and that open-ended questions, thinking, and time were key. I wasn't surprised that some of the participants weren't happy with the structure (or lack thereof) of the seminar, but I did find find it interesting that one participant noted that he appreciated the relaxed atmosphere for the ability to work on something that was truly his to be proud of, but admitted that "I wasn't as productive as I had been" (6). I wonder if I would have felt any differently, because I do value a degree of structure. When there are deadlines, you have something to work towards, and this is instilled in us from a young age. I think this would be a hard habit to break.

Regardless of the lack of structure, it appears that this did, in fact, have an overall positive effect on students. As I read through, I felt that I was getting a sense of excitement and invigoration from the teachers' responses, as if they were "visibly" encouraged by the community and ready to go out and share with their peers and students. The third section: "Teacher-researcher knowledge" reintroduced an unfortunate point that we have discussed in the past-- the teacher not feeling up to par with the researcher (traditionally, a university scholar). One interviewee "doubted she had the 'expertise' to undertake the indicated analyses...[and] several participants flt that their studies lacked sufficient rigor because they did not use sophisticated quantitative methods as did, they believed, university-based scholars" (8). I may be misunderstanding this, but what I read here is that teachers who are, effectively, in the trenches with their students, do not feel that their contributions are as valid as those of "scholars." This is a perception that must be broken and, as Schector and Ramirez note later on, "articles found in academic journals have little relationship to mastery of elaborate experimental methodology" (9). Teachers have a lot to offer as researchers in the learning community, and I'd be interested to read a more updated version of this study to see how things have progressed since it was published.

If a teacher loves his students, he wants to help them. He wants to put as much as he possibly can out there, in order to give them the best of himself. A teacher researcher is primarily responsible to these students and that, in my eyes, makes the role of teacher researcher a labor of love. Teachers have a lot against them, and it takes a special person to want to take on that role.

The Role of Teacher as Researcher

The idea of the teacher acting as a researcher strikes me in an "of course!" sort of way. Of course the teacher should be a researcher! Who else knows the classroom better? Unfortunately, this is not necessarily an "of course!" kind of thing. In class we have discussed that, often, the people in charge don't know what they're in charge of, and the people doing the research are not the people in the classrooms. That being said, I think of teachers as being somewhat like scientists in their respective fields. Scientists do research and publish their findings for the betterment of their community, and I don't think teachers should be seen differently. After all, their "field of study" is the developing human mind. Is there anything more important?

The first article I will be exploring, regarding the role of teacher as researcher, is "Developing a Definition of Teacher Research." This article begins with a beautiful quote from Marion MacLean, "Teacher researchers have faith in their students; they know too much to give up on them." This is so important, and students know the difference when a teacher is caring and engaged, vs. when they are doing the job for a paycheck. I can attest to this from the perspective of a student-- the best teachers I have ever had are the ones who are willing to be open, vulnerable, and walk alongside me.

This article defines teacher research as "inquiry that is intentional, systematic, public, voluntary, ethical, and contextual" (1). This is a bit of a wordy definition and, as Martha and Debra also noted via Hypothesis, doesn't seem to differentiate "teacher research" from any other kind of research. However, further into the article, the author (forgive my lack of noting a name, I will come back to this later, but I'm not sure who wrote this??) further unpacks this definition, as beginning with a commitment to the examination of teaching and learning, followed up with enacting change in the classroom, based on the findings. The teacher researcher studies what is important to them because, likely, it's an issue that they've noticed in their own classrooms. Further, it is, as noted in this article, "a public endeavor" (2). When teachers work together. they "intentionally shift from a private perspective to a more open, public perspective in order to encourage challenges to their understanding" (2). This is always an intelligent way to conduct research, especially in a field in which collaboration can be so helpful to so many.

Next, I looked to "The Teacher as Researcher," by Marian M. Mohr. Mohr makes a strong case against the traditional researcher as someone who isn't generally involved in the classroom for the long term, and I thought it was funny when she spoke, rather wryly, of her own ventures into her role as researcher.  Mohr's article made me consider the idea of thoughtful and intentional teaching, going into the classroom with the goal of learning alongside the students. I thought the example of the misspelling of "aggressive" was an interesting case study, and effective, considering that all of the students got that word right when tested. When students realize a teacher doesn't know everything, I think it may make the teacher more relatable. The last line summed it up well, "I am convinced that the model of a student that I provide for my students to observe will help them to become better students themselves." This is something I think that all teachers should keep in mind, and I certainly shall when my time comes.

Finally, I looked at "A Teacher-Research Group in Action," by Sandra R. Schecter and Rafael Ramirez. Off the bat, I saw that this article was published in June of 1991. so going in I know that the statistics are going to be over two decades old. This may prove to have nothing to do with the research, but it's something I like to take note of.

From the introduction, I am inclined to feel that this study went the distance to include a wide age range, which certainly works in it's advantage. Additionally, it appears to be highly comprehensive-- the participants in this study needed to passionate about being involved:


This is quite a bit of work! Continuing through the paper, I liked the description of the five segment seminar, it seemed engaging and purposeful. The only thing I wasn't completely on-board with was the concept of no syllabus whatsoever. I think that too much structure can be detrimental especially when it's used to the point of superfluity, however I think some structure is necessary and helpful.

Having read Marian Mohr's approach, I understand what the group facilitator meant by using her approach as the format for the seminar that he led. Schector and Ramirez cite the facilitator, Mike, as saying that he wanted to "experiment...to see what works and what doesn't" (4). This certainly does seem to be done in the spirit of Marian Mohr's approach, in terms of experimenting to see how the participants were to respond to a more down to earth model (i.e., Mohr broke the traditional "all-knowing teacher" model to come before her students as a student, in a comparable way this seminar broke the traditional structured model in order to try something new), but I do also think that this comparison is a bit of a stretch.

 The overall vibe that I gathered from the findings of this article was that "process is more important than the product" (5) and that open-ended questions, thinking, and time were key. I wasn't surprised that some of the participants weren't happy with the structure (or lack thereof) of the seminar, but I did find find it interesting that one participant noted that he appreciated the relaxed atmosphere for the ability to work on something that was truly his to be proud of, but admitted that "I wasn't as productive as I had been" (6). I wonder if I would have felt any differently, because I do value a degree of structure. When there are deadlines, you have something to work towards, and this is instilled in us from a young age. I think this would be a hard habit to break.

Regardless of the lack of structure, it appears that this did, in fact, have an overall positive effect on students. As I read through, I felt that I was getting a sense of excitement and invigoration from the teachers' responses, as if they were "visibly" encouraged by the community and ready to go out and share with their peers and students. The third section: "Teacher-researcher knowledge" reintroduced an unfortunate point that we have discussed in the past-- the teacher not feeling up to par with the researcher (traditionally, a university scholar). One interviewee "doubted she had the 'expertise' to undertake the indicated analyses...[and] several participants flt that their studies lacked sufficient rigor because they did not use sophisticated quantitative methods as did, they believed, university-based scholars" (8). I may be misunderstanding this, but what I read here is that teachers who are, effectively, in the trenches with their students, do not feel that their contributions are as valid as those of "scholars." This is a perception that must be broken and, as Schector and Ramirez note later on, "articles found in academic journals have little relationship to mastery of elaborate experimental methodology" (9). Teachers have a lot to offer as researchers in the learning community, and I'd be interested to read a more updated version of this study to see how things have progressed since it was published.

If a teacher loves his students, he wants to help them. He wants to put as much as he possibly can out there, in order to give them the best of himself. A teacher researcher is primarily responsible to these students and that, in my eyes, makes the role of teacher researcher a labor of love. Teachers have a lot against them, and it takes a special person to want to take on that role.